If you’re interested in documentary films about food and the food industry, then you’ll want to visit the Schenectady County Public Library this fall to enjoy their new film series, featuring three films that tackle a variety of topics of interest to just about anyone who eats.  Full disclosure: I’m involved in helping plan this nifty little series, due to my affiliation and/or employment with three of the four partner organizations. Which doesn’t make them any less exciting! I hope you’ll plan on attending one (or all three) of these upcoming events. There will be food!


The Schenectady County Public Library has announced the next event in its year-long Culinary Conversations program. Beginning on Tuesday, September 18, SCPL and its partners will kick off “Food Film Fest,” a monthly series of food-related films. Each event will start at 7:00pm in the McChesney Room of the Central Library (located at 99 Clinton Street in downtown Schenectady). Prior to the film screenings, volunteers from Roots & Wisdom and vendors from Schenectady Greenmarket will be offering samples of locally grown and produced foods. In addition, my pals at  From Scratch Club will also be at the events, sharing tips and information about how you can create your own from-scratch cooking!

All events are FREE and open to the public; however, in order to plan for food, registration for the event is strongly recommended; to register for the program, call the Reference Desk at 518-388-4511 or email Karen Bradley at kbradley@mvls.info.

Here’s the rundown of films:

Tuesday, September 18 – “FOODMATTERS“:

FOODMATTERS is a hard hitting, fast paced look at our current state of health, featuring interviews with leading medical experts from around the world who discuss natural approaches to preventing and reversing cancer, obesity, heart disease, depression and many other chronic conditions. Despite the billions of dollars of funding and research into new so-called cures we continue to suffer from a raft of chronic ills and every day maladies. This groundbreaking documentary sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide ‘Sickness Industry’ and exposes a growing body of scientific evidence proving that nutritional therapy can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than most conventional medical treatments.Find out what works, what doesn’t, and what’s killing you. Becoming informed about the choices you have for you and your family’s health could save your life.

Tuesday, October 23  – “GROW!“:

Itʼs not just ʻOld MacDonaldʼ on the farm anymore. All across the U.S. there is a growing movement of educated young people who are leaving the cities to take up an agrarian life. Armed with college degrees, some are unable to find jobs in the current economic slump. Fed up with corporate America and its influence on a broken food system, they aim to solve some of the current systemʼs inequities by growing clean, fair food. Mostly landless, they borrow, rent or manage farmland in order to fulfill their dreams of doing something meaningful with their lives. GROW! takes a look at this new generation of sustainable farmers through the eyes, hearts and minds of 20 passionate, idealistic and fiercely independent young growers. In the film they speak of both the joys and the challenges involved in tending the land. Filmed on 12 farms throughout the state of Georgia during an entire growing season, GROW! provides an honest and inspiring look at this next generation of farmers.

Thursday, November 15 – “FRESH“:

FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet. Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”; and supermarket owner David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.

The Food Film Fest is presented as part of “Culinary Conversations”, SCPL’s year-long program series featuring cookbook authors, speakers on food related topics and themes, food tasting, films and discussions of food related non-fiction and fiction books. The program is presented in partnership with Schenectady County, Schenectady Greenmarket, Roots & Wisdom, and From Scratch Club. More information about these events is available at www.scpl.org.

And I’ll keep you updated here as well – I know for a fact that there are some AWESOME authors coming to Schenectady very soon!

Information about the event partners:

Roots and Wisdom is a youth agriculture and community service program, bringing together city, suburban and rural Schenectady County youth to grow organic vegetables for donation to local food pantries and for sale within the county. Program participants learn about sustainable agriculture, hunger, nutrition, and diversity. Roots and Wisdom youth, through hard work and community service, create genuine change by helping county residents in need.

Schenectady Greenmarket is a place to buy fresh local produce and artisan goods in a festive community atmosphere. We are building a future in which Schenectady Greenmarket is an integral part of downtown’s cultural landscape, connecting farm and city to create a responsible, sustainable food system. Each Sunday, vendors, shoppers, musicians and friends gather at Schenectady Greenmarket which takes place year-round from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The winter market is located inside Proctors from November through April. With more than 70 vendors, who produce everything they sell, there is something for everyone. EBT, credit and debit cards accepted.

From Scratch Club is a small group of women, living within the Capital Region (Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs) striving for a sustained connection to our kitchens, our gardens and our communities by inspiring people to jump back into the kitchen, their gardens and food communities as a daily way of life regardless of income, space & time. They host two food swaps a month, host a monthly podcast & virtual food-focused book club and they run a DIY School: FSC Academy. The rest of the month they are on their blog, sharing stories, recipes, DIY projects, homesteading tutorials, kitchen tips & tricks and food policy news.